Two sides to the Hamilton-Trulli controversy: Another avoidable crisis

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Race Control could have resolved the problem in seconds, not days
Race Control could have resolved the problem in seconds, not days

Radio conversations have shown that in the moments after Lewis Hamilton overtook Jarno Trulli in the Australian Grand Prix McLaren’s first concern was to ensure they had not broken any rules.

The responsibility for the controversy that ensued lies as much with the FIA and the stewards as it does McLaren.

Race control

Here’s how Martin Whitmarsh explained the discussion on the McLaren pitwall after Hamilton had overtaken Trulli:

As soon as that happened, we then spoke to Race Control, to explain that and ask if we could retake that place. At the time, understandably Race Control was busy and they were not able to give us an answer. We asked several times, but clearly they were very busy. So we had to then deal with it.

It is doubtful a controversy quite as unnecessary as the one we have just experienced in F1 could happen in sports like Indy Car or NASCAR.

Why? Because they have established the practice of using race control to resolve queries like this to minimise changes to the race order after the chequered flag.

If a driver appears in the wrong position during a safety car period, they don’t wait until after the race to shuffle the order around. And they certainly don’t do it by handing out an arbitrary time penalty that bears no relation to the severity of the infraction, as Jarno Trulli originally experienced.

They use common sense. They radio the teams, tell them to swap their drivers around, and the job is done quickly and painlessly.

After the Spa controversy last year Max Mosley made it known that teams should not consult race control (in the form of race director Charlie Whiting, mentioned in the McLaren transcripts) on such matters.

This is a mistake. By denying teams the opportunity to sort out problems with Race Control quickly Mosley is dooming F1 to suffer a cycle of scandal after scandal.

Indy Car run races on tracks comparable in length to F1 venues, with more cars. If they can use race control to resolves problems like this quickly, F1 can too. And it must.

Evidence and rules

This weekend we saw the first signs of the FIA’s promises to make the stewarding process more transparent in 2009. There were some obvious improvements: radio broadcasts and transcripts were published on the FIA’s website.

But there is much room for improvement as well. Not least the fact it took until four days after the race for this material to appear.

The reasoning for some of the decisions were woefully thin. Sebastian Vettel was handed a penalty because “caused a collision and forced a driver off the track”. There are no details why he was the one considered responsible. It later emerged FIA steward Alan Donnelly took him to one side at Malaysia and explained the reasons in greater detail, but the public has not been given this information.

The FIA have made some improvements to how they communicate their stewards’ decisions and it is appreciated. But far more is needed than these cosmetic changes. We need clearer and more explicit rules for driving standards and far greater detail given in the reasoning behind decisions.

But more than anything else, someone needs to see sense and start using Race Control to avoid minor misunderstandings needlessly spiralling into something that damages F1’s credibility.

With that, assuming there are no major developments in the Hamilton-Trulli story this weekend, let’s get back to the racing.

Read the first part of this post: Two sides to the Hamilton-Trulli controversy: Hamilton apologises

62 comments on “Two sides to the Hamilton-Trulli controversy: Another avoidable crisis”

  1. This whole mess could’ve been avoided if they had just red flagged the race after the Vettel/Kubica incident. The final safety car period was completely pointless.

    1. If they had red flagged the race, then Vettel would have been classified 2nd and Kubica third with the taking it back two laps rule – that wouldnt really have been fair given it was them who caused the crash in the first place.

      But i can kinda see your point on that, the race was always going to finish under the safety car as soon as the crash happened, the race order wasnt going to change from the point the SC came out. That said, due to the two laps back rule, they did the right thing.

    2. ah yes, the two laps back rule – they got the winner wrong the last time they used that rule! (wet race in Brazil, Fisichella was declared the winner a few days later and got his trophy at the next race)

  2. schumi the greatest
    3rd April 2009, 12:52

    agreed…and you also have to note how long it took the safety car to come out after the nakajima crash and how long it took to sort the order out behind it etc.

  3. I think its ridiculous how the teams are told not to contact race control, especially for simple matters such as the matter of Lewis and Trulli. Surely if the question is too complicated Charlie can just state this fact and let the teams work it out for themselves, but for simple matters I see no reason why Charlie can’t give a definitive answer to the teams involved.

  4. I’m with you Keith, but i would like to stress on one thing in the end. if McLaren and Hamilton were forthcoming in the beginning about the confusion, and Trulli was also investigated with, the initial ruling would have been as simple as a swap, but lies have a very short life span, and I’m surprised one as big as that lasted 4 days.

    and Race control should employ spotters that would correct such things within a Lap of them happening with direct radio transmission to the driver rather than the pit wall. this way there is no Ryan-like figure to deal with…

  5. Bernification
    3rd April 2009, 13:03

    I’m very disappointed by the behaviour of McLaren now.
    I couldn’t believe they would be stupid enough to have tried to deceive the FIA like this.

    I’m not quite surprised by the FIA’s inadequacies in this whole fiasco though. What is the purpose of race control, and what a misnomer, if they are incapable of controlling the race during it!

    IMHO, McLaren are still very twitchy after Spa 08 (dreadful decision), but really should have come clean. Lewis was aware of the rules, moreso than his team (as the radio communications have proved), but I do also fear that had he not have moved over he would have been the victim of some arbritary decision. Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t.

    It really is beyond time for these goons that are ‘running’ the sport to step aside and let some one with some transparancy, enthusiasm for the sport, and morals run it.

    Lewis, I’m disappointed in you. Don’t be a cheat. That’s rubbish.

    1. That’s probably more relevant to the other article: Two sides to the Hamilton-Trulli controversy: Hamilton apologises

  6. 1) Yes, there should be better communication with race control. This is a much-needed change. But:

    2) the easiest way to have avoided this is not lying to the race officials.

  7. I agree with the article. Teams should be allowed to contact race control during the race to clear up any problems and stewards should be able use common sense when issuing penalties.

    I still find it strange why the Melbourne stewards didn’t know they had access to the team radios, and how on the information they had at the time why they gave the penalty to Trulli. It seemed like they just believed what ever Hamilton said to them rather than look at the facts.

    Although the matter is closed with what Hamilton has come out and said, I still think they should release a recording of the stewards meeting considering they have released virtually everything else to do with the case.

    I had some questions about the stewards and investigations which I posted near the end of the main article on the subject

    I won’t post them again but would appreciate if someone could answer them, thankyou.

  8. OK, let’s assume the FIA are not stupid. So why would they not use race-control to clear up such incidences for the _entire history of F1_ even while other racing series have such provisions in place? I can think of several:

    1. The nature of F1 tracks is different than the simple ovals of Nascar, adding a layer of complexity
    2. Race-control in F1 is understaffed relative to the other series for some very strange reason
    3. Since the safety car is usually deployed after a crash, and since F1 races have historically been much higher speed, race-control needs to concentrate on the safety of the crashed driver first (e.g. whether to medivac) instead of answering questions from pitwalls.

    #3 sounds the most likely. At least that’s probably the reasoning they’re using to justify not allowing the pitwall to contact them.

    I can easily imagine a scenario where race-control simply needs to prioritize the crash first and cannot attend to queries from teams. This opens the specter of inconsistency in handling these situations. Most crashes are benign, so they’ll be able to answer queries. But on a big crash, they can’t prioritize the queries. So there will be uncertainty again.

    So this solution, while probably better than the current methodology, is not quite simple as this post makes it out to be.

    1. For (relatively) simple rule adjudications, there’s no excuse for not having people on hand to answer them, in any but the most difficult of circumstances.

    2. OK, to take your points:

      1. The nature of F1 tracks is different than the simple ovals of Nascar, adding a layer of complexity

      As I write in the article:

      Indy Car run races on tracks comparable in length to F1 venues, with more cars.

      2. Race-control in F1 is understaffed relative to the other series for some very strange reason

      So hire more staff. This is supposed to be the pinnacle of motor racing right?

      This covers point three as well – it’s another question of priorities and manpower. It’s probably a false economy – is it really cheaper to keep having these long, drawn-out stewards meetings instead? Again, it’s not as if Indy Car is rich, but they manage.

    3. I was thinking the same as Keith, that the low number of stewards in F1 shouldn’t be a reason for not using race-control to clear up incidences, it should be a reason to employ more stewards who deal with different events on track completely seperately so that race-control can clear up incidences- but with someone with common sense like Charlie Whiting overseeing proceedings.

  9. Excellent article Keith, however although I agree completely with your intent I had the same misgivings that kurtosis mentions above.

  10. This may be going in completely the wrong direction, but work with me….
    Haven’t we also had reports that Toyota were as confused about the situation as McLaren, and their radio transcripts show it?
    So both teams involved in an incident needed a quick fix to the situation, either in an answer to a question from them directly or as a statement from Race Control.
    I do not believe that every single FIA official at a racetrack needs to be involved with every major incident, I am sure there would be at least one not doing anything (apart from Max), who could check the messages from the teams and respond, even to say ‘we will sort you out later’.
    For the teams not to get any response at all is rubbish control, and shows that those supposedly in charge are not taking the job seriously enough.
    Perhaps from now on the teams should just bring the cars back to the Pits during any SC periods, and wait for Race Control to sort themselves out?…..

  11. Completely right, Keith.

    But MM clearly wants ‘total control’ over F1, no mere race controller is going to decide this kind of life-and-death issue for him! sorry, for his delegates, the FIA stewards.

    The rotten heart of F1 is easy to identify. Until it’s removed, these kind of dull, sport-killing controversies will continue.

  12. I still don’t get why what the driver says has any bearing on the actual incident and penalty. If the team says it’s ok to pass, it’s a legal pass? Since when does F1 say ….”well since you thought you were doing the right thing, then there is no problem?” They should look at the actual incident and decide. The dishonesty is unfortunate for sure. Just my opinion though.

  13. Bigbadderboom
    3rd April 2009, 14:00

    It’s hard to conceive for me that race control cannot answer a simple running order question. McLaren were trying to do the right thing in seeking advice and as others have said before must have felt in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. But for me the dissapointment is the way in which nobody from the FIA/Race Control seems to want to take responsibilty. They expect McLaren to come out and declare their dishonesty (rightly so) and Lewis to declare his resposibilities, yet nothing from the race officials on their own incompetence.
    The sport needs a figure who is completley responsible, until Spa I thought it was Charlie but events have proven otherwise. There should always be support from race control as it is not only a safety issue but is also a big public relations issue, for the sake of F1 race control should answer every question to ensure the race runs as smoothly as possible.

  14. “After the Spa controversy last year Max Mosley made it known that teams should not consult race control (in the form of race director Charlie Whiting, mentioned in the McLaren transcripts) on such matters.

    This is a mistake. By denying teams the opportunity to sort out problems with Race Control quickly Mosley is dooming F1 to suffer a cycle of scandal after scandal.”

    Mosley is too busy proclaiming the virtues of the Master Race while having sex with Nazi dominatrices to deal with in-race problems.

    1. Yeah yeah, that old chestnut, kind of out of context here. MM doesn’t ever have anything to with actual ‘Race Control’.

  15. Another avoidable crisis? I’m not sure I agree with that description.

    The “crisis” part of this whole sorry affair has been caused by Lewis Hamilton and McLaren “deliberately misleading” the stewards and being found out. Had information not been withheld Jarno Trulli would have either been confirmed in third (on the basis that McLaren goofed by ordering Lewis to give the place back) or moved back to fourth. Hardly a crisis.

    As demonstrated last weekend, there are limits to what Race Control can do. Even if Charlie Whiting had been able to respond to McLaren what would he have been able to do in time available? The TV cameras failed to pick up Hamilton passing Trulli while the Toyota was on the grass. Should Whiting have made a snap judgement based on solely on the fact that the timing screens showed a change of position had taken place under the safety car? If so, Trulli would have had his mistake on cold tyres wiped out and Hamilton would have lost a position he gained legitimately.

    The only alternative would have been for Whiting to have called for the on-board footage from both cars. But could that have realistically been done before the race ended? Probably not, so it leaves us in more or less the same position of having to look into it after the race.

    1. Ah yes, but after the race is when you can review all telemetry, radio comms etc.

      Correct me if I am wrong, but there is no time limit on the stewards issuing a decision – quite the opposite it seems. So why couldn’t they have taken the time to review all the information, speak to the drivers – recalling them for further questions if necessary – and then and only then, issue a decision?

      I would rather they take hours to deliberate properly than make a snap decision on only half the facts, then do u turns a week later. Very poor form. So the avoidable crisis could have been avoided by the FIA well and trulli.

      And only in extremely extenuating circumstances do I agree with changing the race result. If sanctions are required and that is a big if, I’d rather see them imposed at the next race.

  16. Things stand as they should now, but it took too long and Mclaren should have had an answer from race control, to tell them to concede the place or otherwise, then there’s no issue at all. Good post Keith, the FIA could do far worse than listen to your points!

  17. Well it’s all a big joke really, Bernie, Max, the FIA, the Stewards and consequently Formula One.

    With a clear and comprehensive set of rules, which F1 blatantly lacks as is evident from the diffuser row, all of this could have been avoided.

    Who knows what the logic behind Max & Bernie’s stupidity is.

    1. I would never accuse Max or Bernie of stupidity; they are way too bright/devious for that. It is us who can be accused of it by getting emotionally and intellectually involved in their power game and overlook the bigger picture. A race or 2 on their own is neither here nor there – but the TV contracts,money, commercial deals and lording over the peasant team owners is probably far more satisfying to these misguided egos.

    2. I guess that it depends on what you would class as stupid.

  18. I think the only thing really missing here is transparency.

    A clear communication about everything that was said by anyone regarding post race decisions. Not just a few sound bites and quotations.
    Minutes of every meeting and the rationale behind the judgements and penalties.

    A lot of clarity on what race control actually represents. Or do they only have three buttons in that room (we got a shot of it during Melbourne, complete with fat ***** someone lolling about on a chair uninterested in proceedings – I have pictures!) Green (everyone us moving ok), Yellow (someone may not be moving), Red (someone has become immovable).

  19. Its very very sad to see two British citizen (Bernie and Max) working soo hard for the downfall of a fellow british citizen (Hamilton) and team (Mclaren) .

  20. Point taken, BUT, why lie?
    Sorry, but by answering NO to the question, meant that Trulli was penalised for nothing…please dont forget that.
    Mclaren(2 Mclaren ppl)lied.
    Did Mclaren highlight this to FIA….NO
    After a week mulling it over….its a disgrace..really

  21. ERICO…catch a grip!

  22. In a sport as fast-paced as F1 where even a few hundredth of a second can mean so much, it reflects prodigiously gross on the FIA for using such Neanderthal problem solving techniques as post-race investigations. One would think they would try to get in tune with the demands of the sport and resolve problems as fast as possible. Failure to do that, at least they should try. IN most of the recent F1 scandals, nothing has shown us that they FIA has eagerly sought to resolve a problem with the urgency that we F1 lovers would like to see. For this reason, we will continue to suffer at the hands of a bunch of idiots (not my first choice word)until the organisation realises they have absolutely failed to do their job and change the system completely to reflect a sport as sophisticated and fast-paced as Formula One.

    1. Agree completely but the suggestion would not help our Emperor Max to guide/bully teams into submission !! Note the frightened tone of LH and pit wall radio comm.

  23. Captain Caveman
    3rd April 2009, 14:55

    I am not really a Lewis fan, but that aside I would have to say that his apology did seem sincere. (although he only apologised because he got caught)

    But the fact is that he still lied or at least misled with the knowledge that someone else (innocent) was going to be penalised.

    He still went of his way to not tell the complete truth. The fact that he was told to do so is no excuse, he has his own opinion and strength of character.

    What it raises to me, is that now everyone is questioning… was this the first time? What did happen the season before last (Hungary and Monaco). When he wants to represent himself he can.

    I might be wrong, but I am sure this will take some time for him to lose the tag of a liar, in the same way as Kimi is lazy, Alonso moody and Senna great

  24. I think that the stewards made the right decisions, and were right to re-open the case, even if it was a couple of days late – they realised their mistake and rectified it – i think that is something that should be applauded, because, without appeal, these things dont usually ever get changed!

    My problem is that it took so long to come to light in the first place. Yes they had misleading evidence, but why did it take until Wednesday after the race for this ‘new’ evidence – part of which was Hamiltons post race interview and the radio transmissions, all of which were available in the public domain relatively quickly after the race, let alone to the stewards – to be discovered. They should have been much more thorough in the first place. They werent helped by Mclaren and Hamilton though.

  25. News just coming in that the legendary director stephen speilberg has plans to make a multi-million(perphaps to the tune of 100 million $ ) movie. The new movie is titled LIAR LIAR II. Lewis ‘liar’ hamilton replaces Jim Carrey in the lead role. Vodafone r supposedly funding the entire movie. The movie also features ron dennis as one of lewis’ co-actor. Rowan atkinson is supposedly to be writing hamiltons script. The movie is to be made in a record time. It is set to release during the british g.p. P.S. I SWEAR ON THE FIA’s CODE OF CONDUCT BOOK THAT THE ABOVE MENTIONED FACT IS TRU(LLI)E.

  26. IMO… The real issue is with the shortcomings of Race Control/FIA and their inadequacy to provide clear rules/quick decisions during a race.

    To pin the blame on the teams is diversionary. This racing and not a court of law.

    Drivers are best at racing. That’s what they do. I would look elsewhere, not F1, if I was looking for examples of high moral standards.

    Let the teams/drivers Race.
    Let this continue to remain a sport.

  27. I haven’t read all the comments, so I might be saying something repeated.

    Of course it is completely stupid to wait so much time to take a decision on something so trivial as a mis-placed driver.
    When the SC car comes out, overtaking is prohibited even if cars have not queued behind the SC car, correct? So if at next lap, there is a change of positions, the stewards should take an immediate action! They could talk to the teams asking what happened and giving an order, like “hold positions” or let someone else retake its spot.
    Of course if something odd or different information came at the time, they would have to take a decision later. But this was something that everyone was aware at the time, Lewis passed Trulli and then Trulli passed back, without having acces to all the telemetry and othr communication the stewards (or race control) have, that its just plain silly that it takes all this time, and they take one decision then another…

  28. The FIA is publishing the teams transcripts which are already open to all. What we need to see are the FIA’s transcripts, the questions they ask and the answers, and the personnel asking the questions. That is the true TRANSPARENCY.

  29. James Allen revealed on his f1 blog that there are no minutes kept of stewards meetings. This is a pretty shocking revelation for a sport that teams spend billions on.

    Until there is an amendment to this (lack of) policy how can the F.I.A ever deliver on their promise of transparency for Stewards decisions?

  30. I think Whitmarsh is in a damage limitation mode now. He should know the rules and should not have to ask Whiting for advice. Anyway, he was not supposed to contact Whiting, so he was a fault there as well! But the main issue here is that Hamilton was told to lie. Just shows the strength of his character that he agreed to do just that!

  31. @ Keith,

    If it’s blatantly obvious to us all that hiring more stewards or a dedicated set of stewards to talk to teams is cheaper than the way to do it now, then it must surely be obvious to the folks at the FIA – who can actually see the numbers. And if all Bernie is interested is in profits, surely he would have acted on it by now if it’s cheaper than doing it the current way?

    I don’t buy that the only explanation for the FIA not introducing this by now is “the FIA are stupid, and we fans know better!” There are certainly variables we can’t see I’m trying to see if we can dig them out.

    So why do you think the FIA hasn’t introduced this yet? Simple pig-headedness?

  32. Keith, well said. I said more or less the same in my post on the sister thread to this. The main changes that need to be made are:

    1. stewards should make decisions only once they have all available telemetry and radio transmissions (I don’t think press interviews should be admissible)
    2. race control should give definitive advice during a race as those in race control should know the rules inside and out
    3. the rules themselves shouldn’t be so vague and open to interpretation as they so clearly are
    4. they should employ a team of competent people in race control, NOT just one man; people who know the rules inside and out and can give definitive, informed advice. This advice SHOULD be used in final stewards’ decisions

    F1 administration and stewarding is a complete and utter farce – unprofessional is an understatement. It is shocking that such a multi-billion pound sport watched by so many millions around the world should have such appalling stewarding.

    It is good that Keith has made these points – ‘The Times’ F1 blog just keeps pointing the finger at Lewis.

  33. I really hope thos soap is over and let’s see ONLY on the track, who are the fastest and the more reliable.

  34. theRoswellite
    3rd April 2009, 19:24

    Keith is on-point with his comments.

    Just an additional, short, reflection. If a rule existed that any car unable to hold position in the pace car order, for whatever reason, should only rejoin the line… the end. This would have prevented the entire controversy. (If you go off the track, if your car slows for any reason…the rest of the field just continues behind the pace car.)

    This rule would have been known by Trulli and he would have simply rejoined where he could do so safely (at the rear). It would not have been up to Hamilton/McLaren to decide if they should let him pass or not. Simple.

    All of which is not an excuse for Hamilton, McLaren or the FIA in how this has all come down.

    1. Stuart Hotman
      3rd April 2009, 23:23

      This debate is trulli hamazing!

      First we had Spygate – Mclaren accused of copying ferrari’s tyre pressures. Thrown out of constructors champ. Ferrari win constructors.

      Then we had Spagate – Hamilton passes Raik, but only gave place back for one corner. 25 sec pen, handed win to Massa/ferrari after Raik spooned it off the track.

      Now we have Liegate – Hamilton disqulaified from Oz GP for telling pork pies. Ferrari didn’t get any points so why should McLaren.

      Am I missing something?

      Race results/championships should not be decided upon what someone said or didnt say. Stewards must not ask drivers their opinions, they shoud use facts. End of story.

  35. I think this once again brings F1 into a very bad light, theres so much at stake financially these days and like in top league football teams and players will do almost anything for that extra edge. I find the whole thing very disheartening and its no single persons blame but the culture of victory beyond everything and the aims of a few to cripple the enjoyment of many.

    Good luck Jenson I say

  36. how many drivers would lie if the team that paid their wages told them to do so? personally I think most would.

    Lewis should have double checked with Whitmarsh not just taken Ryan’s word for it. I mean being told to lie is a big thing, but it was taken too lightly.

    OK he made a mistake. lots of sportsmen make mistakes and do wrong things. you pay the price, you aplogise and then you move forward and focus on being a sportsman again. I still have every respect for the man. I am aware he has his share of haters. But those people hated him anyway for whatever reasons – mostly jealousy and ignorance.
    Lewis has a lot of misreporting about him in the past and people make their own biased conclusions.
    Lewis will never convince those people that he is a good man. His fans, like me, will stick firmly behind him. He has nothing to prove. he is a top driver and a genuine man.

    1. I agree with you gazzap 100%. He had his haters, he still has his haters but now with extra ammunition, and he has his fans who know what a good man and great driver he is. End of.

  37. To be honest I’m not sure race control could have settled the matter. Going by the radio conversation, Trulli felt that he was in the right to take the place back and Hamilton felt that he was entitled to keep that #3 spot.

    Although maybe with some back and forth talking they could have eventually resolved it.

    What really needs to change is the stewarding proces. FIRST they should look at (all) the evidence. At the very least they need to look at the available video footage. Only then should they talk to the people involved. Otherwise you don’t really know what to ask or to make sure the drivers know the facts.

    You can’t expect drivers to get all their facts straight. Either because they are presenting themselves as favourably as possible, bot often they just don’t know exactly who did what wrong.

    FIA also need to make the rules for overtaking more clear. Why does Bourdais get punished when Massa runs through him on Fuji 2008. Why is Kubica allowed to run Raikkonen off the track at the same race? Why is Raikkonen allowed to run Hamilton off the track at Spa 2008? Why does Vettel get punished for the accident with Kubica? Why is Barrichello allowed to cause one major incident and then also hit Raikkonen? How is this different from Vettel braking slightly late?

    It’s just not consistent. Or at least it doesn’t appear consistent to me. Is the rule really that you need to be half a meter ahead and then you can push the other driver off track?

    But then Hamilton was ahead of Raikkonen at Spa at the time they turned in. So Hamilton was ahead, but Raikkonen received no penalty. Is the position determined when they start breaking? Then Vettel was still ahead of Kubica and Kubica should be punished for touching Vettel.

  38. I agree

    Started with Hamilton trying to follow the rules, and ends with an scandal.

    Everything went wrong to Lewis. Charlie didn’t answer the questions of the team. Mclaren director’s is not able to say to Lewis that he overtook in a fair way the Toyota. For me is incredible that Lewis in the cockpit knows better the rules than a person with several years in the F1 working in the wall. FIA didn’t listen the radio records in the investigation but did it 4 days later.

    At the end he lied, but the scenario is completely unreal


  39. this is the fault of the FIA i could understand if this happened 1 time but it is every other week we dont know the result of a race till hours after. formula 1 should stop looking down on other race series and get there thumbs out there ass

  40. Politics is part of the fabric of F1 and always will be given the money invested and potential rewards… definately a thinking man’s sport – and why most of us are drawn to this awesome web site. If you want something simpler with concrete results I suggest you go to watch NASCAR / Indy etc – No, you can’t keep away. I am tired of people on this site blaming the FIA and the uncertanty of results… guys, Lewis and McLaren cheated. End of!! This has nothing to do with Ferarri.

    If Mclaren “instructed” Lewis Hamilton to lie and put him in this situation….will he be looking to leave Mclaren?

    I wouldnt want to work for a team that put me in the proverbial muck!

  42. Bernification
    4th April 2009, 2:17

    Just a question. I don’t know if you have the answer Keith, or anyone.

    I was under the impression that investigations only took place if someone complained.

    If that is true, Toyota withdrew their formal complaint, so why was this whole thing investigated further?

    I’m probably wrong, but I’m asking for clarification!

  43. Hey all… a little late for this one but what I’ve been wondering about… with all the stewards decisions why they would let Ruben’s drive around like it’s a “hit to pass” race event… I mean look at the penalty to Vettel for simply a race incident..
    it doesn’t make sense… :)

  44. Keith = nail on head.

    Whole sorry mess was created by incompetent Stewards and a rulebook with too many grey areas, and an interfering governing body that is well, useless is the nicest way I can put it.

  45. The only way I can see this ruling being reversed is if a championship is won due to it, and the public outcry afterwards is big enough. I don’t think nobody agrees with Max Mosley’s stance on this issue.
    Race Control could, and should, have handled this minor problem far better than they did. It is conveniant to suggest that this predicament Hamilton and McLaren found themselves in was self inflicted, as it diverts blame away from Race Control and the FIA.
    Your article sums it up. Race Control should be more open for the teams to ask questions during a race, and Race Control should ‘order’ teams to change positions inherited through wrong doing straight away.
    In this modern age, with cameras on the majority of cars involved, there simply is no excuse. McLaren and Hamilton were wrong, and were caught and punished. That, however, does not hide the inept way inwhich this scandal and that of Spa 2008 were handled.
    If we get a driver, who wins a title, celebrates it on the podium, only to lose it a week later, then this sport’s image maybe damaged beyond any repair.

  46. I’m sure the FIA would be happier without that British kid on the grid… perhaps this is just the kind of excuse they have been waiting for to kick him out once and for all!

    (I really hope that isn’t the case!)

  47. Dave the Rave
    5th April 2009, 0:16

    I guess that in an “innocent” way all the drivers lie.
    Just look at any coming together ! Both drivers usually declare that it was the others fault……….”he forced me off” etc., etc.

  48. Can you label what Toyota did with their flexi-wings as attempting to mis-lead the stewards too?

  49. It appears that the FIA can interpret the regulations in different ways, depending on the outcome they wish to create – that’s why there are so many ‘grey’ areas in the regulations. Their rulings produce controversy, which is exactly what they want. As the saying goes – ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’!

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